Government and Politics
September 19, 2022
NEW YORK, NY — In a new report, the Times Union revealed yesterday that the Albany County District Attorney’s office and the New York State Board of Elections are moving forward with a criminal investigation into Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin’s attempt to submit more than 11,000 fraudulent signatures to get on a third-party ballot line.
Two months ago, the New York State Board of Elections rejected Lee Zeldin’s petition to get on the Independence Party line, citing more than 11,000 photocopied signatures that Zeldin’s own campaign manager signed off on.
Hochul Campaign Manager Brian Lenzmeier, released the following statement:
“After months of non-answers and finger-pointing, New Yorkers deserve to know who exactly was involved in Xerox Zeldin’s election fraud scandal. The facts here are clear: Zeldin’s campaign manager knowingly signed off on 47 volumes of petitions containing more than 11,000 photocopied signatures.
“As a congressman, Lee Zeldin supported legal efforts to overturn the 2020 election and pushed baseless conspiracy theories under the banner of ‘election integrity,’ but apparently that doesn’t apply to his own campaign. His campaign is now implicated in a criminal investigation for attempting to defraud voters and Zeldin needs to be held accountable.”
Highlights from the story below:
Times Union: Investigation of fraudulent nominating petitions moving forward
By: Chris Bragg, 9/18/22
Investigators with the Albany County District Attorney’s office and the state Board of Elections are moving forward with an investigation that’s focusing on thousands of duplicate signatures that were submitted in nominating petitions in an effort to secure the Independence Party ballot line for Republican gubernatorial candidate U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin. […]
Investigators initially suspected the roughly 11,000 duplicate signatures, which were photocopied at the state Republican Party headquarters in Albany, had been inserted in the petitions due to a clerical error. But investigators are now examining whether there are potential criminal charges because it appears the duplicate signatures were deliberately mixed into the petitions, a source with knowledge of the investigation said. They were filed just before a May 31 deadline but — without the photocopied signatures — were well short of the minimum 45,000 needed to secure the third-party line for Zeldin.
The investigation is focusing on who took part in the photocopying and whether top GOP party officials directed or sanctioned the effort. […]
The Times Union first reported last month that the state Republican Party headquarters in Albany was the final stop for the dubious petitions that subsequently prompted Democrats to call for a criminal investigation. […]
Of 52,000 signatures submitted, more than 11,000 were determined by the Board of Elections to be photocopies of other, original signatures within those same records. The copied pages were interspersed in a manner leading some election experts to conclude their inclusion may have been intentional, possibly to inflate the number of signatures to surpass the daunting new threshold of 45,000 valid signatures for upstart state parties to gain ballot access. […]
Democratic state Sen. Zellnor Myrie, chair of the Senate’s Elections Committee, had written a letter asking Soares’ office to investigate the Independence Party petitioning effort.
He sent his letter after the Libertarian Party, another minor political party in New York, flagged the problematic Independence Party petition signatures in June and documented the issues on a website called ZeldinCopies.com.
Zeldin’s campaign manager, Eric Amidon, is listed on the 47 petition volume cover sheets as the contact person for any petition deficiencies. He signed each of them. […]